Patent Bar Source Materials Changing After August 8th, 2018

The USPTO posted the update schedule for the patent bar source materials earlier this week.

According to this latest notice, the 08.2017 version of the MPEP + 5 supplements will start being tested as of August 16th, 2018. Between now and August 8th, 2018, the 07.2015 version of the MPEP + 14 supplements will be tested.

What Does This Mean Exactly?

Between now and August 8th, 2018, the source materials for the questions and answers on the patent bar exam will be:

  • Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP), Ninth Edition, Revision 07.2015 http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/index.html;
  • Inter Partes, Post Grant, and Covered Business Method Review Final Rules (77 Fed. Reg. 48680, August 14, 2012) http://www.uspto.gov/aia_implementation/fr_specific_trial.pdf;
  • Derivation Proceeding Final Rules (77 Fed. Reg.56068, September 11, 2012) http://www.uspto.gov/aia_implementation/2012-22204-derivation-proceedings.pdf;
  • Changes to Representation of Others Before the USPTO Final Rules http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-04-03/pdf/2013-07382.pdf; and
  • Implementation of the Global and IP5 Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Pilot Programs with Participating Offices http://www.uspto.gov/patents/law/notices/global-ip5.pdf

SUBJECT MATTER ELIGIBILITY GUIDANCE AND TRAINING MATERIALS

  • 6. Memo dated July 14, 2016, Recent Subject Matter Eligibility Rulings (Rapid Litigation Management v. CellzDirect and Sequenom v. Ariosa) http://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/memo_rlm-sequenom.pdf;
  • 7. Memo dated May 4, 2016, Formulating a Subject Matter Eligibility Rejection and Evaluating the Applicant’s Response to a Subject Matter Eligibility Rejection http://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ieg-may-2016-memo.pdf;
  • 8. Subject Matter Eligibility: Workshop II Handout http://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ai-workshop-ii-handout.pdf;
  • 9. Subject Matter Eligibility: Worksheet, Example 21, Claim 1 http://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ai-workshop-ii-ex-21-cl-1.pdf;
  • 10. Subject Matter Eligibility: Worksheet, Example 21, Claim 2 http://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ai-workshop-ii-ex-21-cl-2.pdf;
  • 11. Subject Matter Eligibility: Worksheet, Example 23, Claim 3 http://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ai-workshop-ii-ex-23-cl-3.pdf;
  • 12. Subject Matter Eligibility: Worksheet, Example 23, Claim 4 http://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ai-workshop-ii-ex-23-cl-4.pdf;
  • 13. July 2015 Update: Subject Matter Eligibility http://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ieg-july-2015-update.pdf;
  • 14. 2014 Interim Eligibility Guidance Quick Reference Sheet http://www.uspto.gov/patents/law/exam/2014_eligibility_qrs.pdf; and
  • 15. 2014 Interim Guidance on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-12-16/pdf/2014-29414.pdf

There will be a one week break where Prometric updates the computer terminals to include the new source materials. After that break, testing will resume on August 16th, 2018 with the following source materials:

  • Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP), Ninth Edition, Revision 08.2017, Last Revised January 2018
    http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/index.html;
  • Inter Partes, Post Grant, and Covered Business Method Review Final Rules (77 Fed. Reg. 48680, August 14, 2012) http://www.uspto.gov/aia_implementation/fr_specific_trial.pdf;
  • Derivation Proceeding Final Rules (77 Fed. Reg.56068, September 11, 2012)
    http://www.uspto.gov/aia_implementation/2012-22204-derivation-proceedings.pdf;
  • Changes to Representation of Others Before the USPTO Final Rules
    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-04-03/pdf/2013-07382.pdf; and
  • Implementation of the Global and IP5 Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Pilot Programs with Participating Offices http://www.uspto.gov/patents/law/notices/global-ip5.pdf

The MPEP 08.2017 will be tested instead of the older version of the MPEP. The Subject Matter Eligibility supplements will no longer be tested (these were all incorporated into the MPEP 08.2017).

What Does This Mean For You?

If you’ve already started studying for the exam, it would be best if you could set a test date prior to August 8th, 2018. That way you don’t have to make any adjustments to your preparations.

Plus you don’t want to drag out studying for this exam for any longer than you need to. This deadline could help you get the exam wrapped up.

If you’re just now starting to study then you could definitely get through the material over the summer and still take and pass the exam before August 8th with the 07.2015 version of the materials.

Again, you don’t want to spread this out longer than you need and 2 to 4 months is plenty of time for many people to prepare for and pass the exam.

If you just began studying and are planning to take the exam after August 8th, then start studying with the 08.2017 version of the MPEP. We have all this ready for you inside the PES Patent Bar review course. This new version of the MPEP was published back in January which gave us plenty of time to update our materials.

If you’ve already started studying with 07.2015 and know you can’t take the exam until after August 8th, then contact us and we’ll help you create a plan for jumping into 08.2017.

How Much Has Changed Between 07.2015 and 08.2017?

Honestly, not much. I personally spent the time to go through all the updates, reading and checking off each and every one and many were not at all relevant to the test.

There were probably a hundred update entries that dealt with gender issues. So instead of using ‘he’ or ‘she’ in the MPEP, they switched the sentence to a gender neutral version. That’s not going to amount to anything for you in regards to the patent bar exam.

There were many other update entries that dealt with clarifications to the MPEP. This happens at every update. There is a feedback form on the USPTO website where anyone can submit feedback on the MPEP. Often they’ll incorporate this feedback into the latest version.

These changes usually wind up being additional sentences that clarify what was already there. Note that I’m not saying ‘change what was already there’, but ‘clarify’. So you’re not learning the wrong thing if you studied from the older MPEP and wind up taking the exam with the newer version.

Then there were a few additions of laws and rules to the MPEP.

Most of this is in reference to chapter 2100. Basically, what they’ve done is take all those Subject Matter Eligibility supplements and add them to chapter 2100.

Post- August 16th exams will have fewer supplements and the same material that was previously tested as supplemental material will now be incorporated into the MPEP. In many ways, that makes searching easier.

So again, if you plan ahead and know when you’ll be taking the exam, you can be sure to study from the right version of the MPEP from the start.

As far as many of the updates in the past go, this update is very minimal. It should be very easy for you to go from studying the 07.2015 MPEP to the 08.2017 MPEP and not lose much, if any of your time.

We have both the pre- and post- August 16th, 2018 versions of the online course ready to go for you. So it will be a snap for you to navigate whichever version you need to study from.

If you have any questions, please contact us! We’re happy to help you sort it out.